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U.K. spy chief sees 'disturbing' volume of cyberattacks

Attempts include a significant but unsuccessful cyberattack launched against the U.K. Foreign Office and other government departments this past summer.

Government Communications Headquarters, shown here in Cheltenham, England, is one of three main intelligence agencies for the U.K.

A significant but unsuccessful cyberattack was launched on the U.K. Foreign Office and other government departments this summer, according to the head of the country's communications spy agency.

Iain Lobban, director of the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters, wrote today in a piece for The Times, based in London, that there was a "disturbing" volume of e-crime and attacks on government and industry systems.

"I can attest to attempts to steal British ideas and designs--in the IT, technology, defence, engineering and energy sectors as well as other industries--to gain commercial advantage or to profit from secret knowledge of contractual arrangements," Lobban wrote. "We are also aware of similar techniques being employed to try to acquire sensitive information from British government computer systems, including one significant (but unsuccessful) attempt on the Foreign Office and other government departments this summer."

Read more of "GCHQ: Significant attack against UK gov't systems failed" at ZDNet UK.